If you’ve ever considered building a pool, you’ve likely budgeted for such specifics as pool type, filtration system, and features. Few people, however, begin the process understanding the full scope of the financial obligations involved. Perhaps you’ve already put plans in motion and are just now discovering the overall costs. Whatever stage you’re in, there are several hidden expenses that will inevitably arise—preparedness will ensure your timeline stays intact.
Pre-constructionDirt/Debri Removal: Naturally, you’d expect builders to dig into the earth in order to build your pool, but have you considered the cost of having the rocks and dirt hauled away? Depending upon soil quality, it may be used to backfill the pool after completion—the excess of which must be legally disposed. In other words, no, the city won’t let you leave it on a curb somewhere. Expect to pay between $300-$900.
Patio: Concrete can range anywhere from four to twenty dollars per square foot. Of course, if you want something fancier, such as custom tile work or travertine, expect to pay much more. It’s advisable to discuss added costs with a local contractor before you begin building a pool—getting quotes for both the minimum square footage for the perimeter and what you might actually desire once all is said and done.
Retaining Walls: This is perhaps the most common (and costly) hidden expense that people don't take into account. Essentially, these are the walls needed to either: a) provide structural support for the pool or deck or b) act as a diversion for yard runoff including heavy rainfall and debris. Note, retaining walls may still be necessary even if your yard is relatively flat. If it slopes, you can almost guarantee the added expense which can range from a few thousand dollars to $20,000, depending on the construction material and degree of the slope. The upside is that they can be decorative and add to the allure of your new swimming pool.
Post-constructionFencing: Nearly every city requires a safety fence or self-latching gate around your newly constructed pool, even if you don’t have small children in the household. Costs range from $15-$19 per linear square foot, bringing the average grand total to over $1,100. Yikes! Don’t discount the Do-It-Yourself method, as it can save you hundreds of dollars in labor.
Landscaping: Many homeowners don’t consider the costs of landscaping when building a pool, whether they're due to the addition of decorative plants and rocks around the deck or the destruction of your beautiful green lawn. You might not have thought about the latter, but after the excavation process and traffic from heavy machinery, you might need a complete re-sod. Costs will vary based on yard size and landscaping preferences.
Electrical: While most pool builders factor in electrical costs, it's in your interest to double check. You don't wan to be left with a separate invoice. It’s difficult to assume the expense involved, as it depends on added pool features such as: lighting, an automatic pool cover, hot tub, salt chlorine generator, etc. If you aren’t sure whether electrical costs are part of the pool package, ask!
While building a pool is undoubtedly an exciting process, it can also be the source of much frustration in terms of your budget. Any builder worth their salt will happily outline all costs and set proper expectations about added expenses before you begin. Do your research and know what to ask to avoid these common money pitfalls.